Politics and Aesthetics

The Democrats are about to kick-off their fashion show for picking their next presidential candidate, so the experts are trying to set the tone for the season. The fashion show is a good analogy at this stage. Designers don’t always come up with new styles that work with the public, so they try different things, hoping for one or two that work. They hope to come up with something that catches the attention of a taste-maker, like a Hollywood starlet, then all of a sudden they have a hit with the public.

Steve Jobs figured this out the second time around with Apple. It was not about cutting edge technology or making a better product. That was a field with too many big money smart players. His game was going to be as trend setter and taste-maker. He tailored the company to be the symbol of the smart set, the people who fashion themselves a cut above the masses. These are the people who determine the latest styles. The lowly music player soon became a fashion and cultural statement.

Politics often works the same way. In 1992, Bill Clinton won the presidency largely on the cool factor. He was young, as far as Baby Boomers were concerned. He was also hip and cool. He played the sax on TV wearing sunglasses! Voting for Clinton became a fashion statement for the Left. Tony Blair played the same game in Britain with the “Cool Britannica” stuff. He was young and new and the future of Britain, despite being the man, who would usher in the end of Britain as an English country.

Politics and aesthetics are tightly wound together in any form of democracy, as selecting people for elected office is a popularity contest. The winner of the beauty pageant is not objectively better in some way than the others. She just has some way of appealing to the voters in the moment. The iPod was not some great innovation or invention. It just looked cool to the right people at the right time and became the standard for music players. Barak Obama was not a great statesman. He was just the right style at the time.

It’s not just left-wing politics in America that relies on an aesthetic to carry it forward with its supporters. In 1976 Ronald Reagan lost to the dour Gerald Ford in the Republican primary. The same Reagan won in 1980 and ushered in a great cultural revival called the Reagan Revolution. In 1976 men had sideburns and wore garish leisure suits. In 1986, men wore traditional men’s suits, bathed every day and kept themselves properly groomed. The political revolution had an aesthetic.

This has always been true in the era of liberal democracy. The two great movements of the early 20th century, fascism and Bolshevism, had distinct aesthetics. The quintessential communist a century ago was a shabby looking cosmopolitan, with round spectacles and a few too many phobias. In contrast, the quintessential fascist was the beer drinking bourgeoisie hooligan, who disdained books in favor of the Faustian existence. Both sides were fighting over an aesthetic, as much as for power.

This is an important thing to understand about politics in any age, but especially in this highly democratic age. It’s about flattery, as much as anything. The people flocking to your banner do so because it validates an opinion of themselves. This piece in the Atlantic, celebrating Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg is a good example. The intended audience for that article are the sort of people, who want to belief their politics are controlled by facts and reason, rather than superstition and emotion.

The fact that both Warren and Buttigieg are pseudo-intellectual posers is not only not a liability, but it is an asset. The people they seek to attract are themselves supercilious dilettantes and poseurs. They get their opinions from the MSNBC and NPR, while claiming to be avid readers of the New York Times. These are the people who decorate their apartments with books they never read. Around a real intellectual, they are made to feel inferior, but around Warren or Buttigieg they are validated.

The argument that the democrats are heavily reliant on the super educated is what’s called flattering the reader. Democrats rely on blacks, foreigners and white people too dumb to realize they are being destroyed. That is the base of the party now. Warren and Buttigieg know they have no shot at those voters, so they hope to win the beautiful people in the party. They may not connect with the rank and file, but they can appeal to the trend setters, who have the tools to convert that into popular appeal.

Another way to see the entanglement of politics and aesthetics is look at the street battles between the alt-right and Antifa. One side kitted themselves out as preppy suburban fascists. The other side was a comical mélange of Italian Black Shirts and skateboard park anarchists. Neither side had a coherent, positive identity, so they cherry-picked styles and symbols from past movements. They could just as easily have faced off with one side in leisure suits and the other side wearing spats.

In fact, what characterizes this period is the lack of a political aesthetic that is authentic and original. This is an interregnum, where the old order is slowly giving way, but a new order has yet to form. More precisely, the battles lines between the contestants for a new order have yet to form. Instead, it is one side protecting the status quo and one side dissatisfied with it. The former has no reason to defend the old order, other than habit, while the latter has no conception of what should come next.

If there is to be a coherent political and social movement rise out of the dissident right, it will have to be more than narrow political arguments and meta-political commentary on social media. It will need a look that signals to the curious that it is a movement with a future for itself and its adherents. Just as men in traditional suits signaled a break from the 1970’s and the radical chic of the New Left, the new aesthetic will have to signal a break from the old political paradigm and the old Progressive morality.

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The IQ

The state of Israel holds a special place in the American political consciousness for a number of reasons. One is the fact Israel puts enormous effort into lobbying the political class in Washington. They are the most effective lobbying machine on earth. The other is the phenomenon of Christian Zionists, who have created a form of Christianity that seems to venerate the modern state of Israel. Then there is the anti-Muslim aspect to the whole thing. Most Americans back Israel, because they don’t like Muslims.

It was not always this way. In the 1950’s both political parties were skeptical about Israel, but for a number of reasons the political class was convinced to back the Israelis against the Arabs. Even so, the Left remained anti-Zionist into the 1970’s, siding with the Palestinians as members of the coalition of the oppressed. There remains a whiff of this on the Left with the old guys. A guy like Bernie Sanders is comfortable being anti-Zionist, without being a self-hating Jew. He just keeps it to himself these days.

Right-wing Progressives, on the other hand, have gone completely insane with their love of Israel. They are pushing through laws in states like Florida to ban criticism of Israel or support for critics of Israel. It’s tempting to say these are unconstitutional, but the courts are so corrupt now, that’s a phrase without meaning. Still, the right-wing Progressives make a fetish of the Constitution, so for them to embrace the barbaric practice of proscribing certain topics underscores their fanaticism for Israel.

The anti-Semites, of course, look at this as part of the greater plot by those crafty Jews to destroy the West. It is certainly true that Israel is happy to support Zionist movements in the United States, as it keeps the American government on their side. The truth is, being pro-Israel is one of the few areas where Christians can participate in public life, so they do so with rabid enthusiasm. Similarly, Republicans are allowed to give it to the Left on this issue, so they go overboard on their love for Israel.

That said, Israel is happy to see it. They have become dependent on the United States in ways that get lost on this side of the world. Billions flow from America into Israel every year. The amount of private charity from Christian groups in the US exceeds the foreign aid from the US. Then there are the wealthy Jews, who are not often all that observant, but they make up for it by writing checks and getting others to writes checks to Israeli causes. Remittances means as much to Israel as they do to Mexico.

The trouble with this dynamic is it is an aging one, where the most enthusiastic supporters of Israel in America are getting old. On the Left, the younger generation sees Jews as white and white people are all bad. Instead, they side with Arabs, who are not white, so they are good. Chuck Schumer may run the Democrat party, but Ilhan Omar is the future of the party. Even if she is an exception, the brown coalition simply sees Jews as part of Team White, which makes them and their interests the enemy.

On the Right, mentally unstable left-wing Jews create more anti-Semites on a daily basis than Hitler did in a century. As the younger left-wing Jews, especially the women, try to burrow into the brown coalition, by going over the top in their anti-white rhetoric, whites young whites are reacting to this rhetoric. To say that Michelle Goldberg is bad for Jews is to say that cancer is bad for people, but so far Jews have yet to figure out how to think about addressing that problem, much less curing it.

That’s another problem for Israel, maybe the most serious one. The Michelle Goldberg type is a dying breed. Reformed and Conservative Jews in America stopped having kids, just like occidentals. They also started marrying out of the Tribe. As a result, the ratio of Jews to non-Jews in the country is half what it was at the middle of the last century. The explosion of birth rates and immigration on the Orthodox side promises to change the complexion of Jewishness. Demographics is everyone’s destiny.

To understand this dynamic and what it means for Israel, think about how the Jewish vote broke in the 2016 election. Trump won the Orthodox voters, as he is pro-Israel, but he lost the rest of the Jewish vote. The old gag was that the Jews lived like Episcopalians and voted like Puerto Ricans. Today, the non-Orthodox vote like blacks and live like homosexuals. That vital coalition for Israel is now backing anti-Israel candidates and erasing themselves from the book of life. That’s bad for Israel.

Of course, these demographic changes are driven by the same forces that are undermining occidental communities. The reason there is such a thing as alt-Jew is the same reason there is an alt-right. What it means to be Jewish in modern America is under assault by modern America. The reason the Orthodox have so many kids is they see a bright future. The reason the rest of the Diaspora in North America is not having kids is they wish they had never been born. Self-loathing is their religion.

There’s something else with Jews that is unique to them. A big part of Jewish identity is seeing themselves as the plucky underdog put upon by a hostile world. As they rose to the top of American society, they were changed by their immersion into the Progressive cultural outlook. Just as Jews were Hellenized by the Greeks, Jews in America were changed by those ruling class Protestants they found themselves competing with and working with in the high ground of American society.

There’s good reason to mock the term Judeo-Christian, but there is such a thing as Judeo-Puritan. That’s the ethos of the America ruling elite now. The almost berserk obsession with collective judgement and the need to subvert their own system in order to perpetual a state of constant revolution, draws from both traditions. The moralizing prudishness has been inverted to attack traditional morality, while the outsider instinct has been weaponized to create a perpetual state of crisis.

This warping of Jewish identity is most obvious with the neocons. Their enthusiasm for crusading around the world to spread democracy is written off by anti-Semites, as part of their plot to help Israel. In reality, it is the result of internalizing the missionary zeal and universalism of their Protestant brothers in the Judeo-Puritan orthodoxy. The Protestants send missionaries to torment the bad whites inside America, while the Jews send those bad whites out to impose liberal democracy on the rest of the world.

Overall, the dynamic in America is not a good one for Israel. The disintegrating old white America is undermining general support for Israel. It is opening the doors to left-wing anti-Zionists among the coalition of the ascendant. The Jews most supportive of Israel financially, and best able to influence government policy, are fading into a demographic oblivion. The partnership of Trump’s over-the-top civic nationalism and Netanyahu’s over-the-top Zionism is like the last concert for an old band about to retire.

For Israel, it means figuring out how to work with nationalist movements in Europe and white identity movements in the United States. Jews in the Diaspora have the luxury of railing against these movements, but Israelis are far more sober minded. They have no choice but to be pragmatic, as their survival depends upon it. What seems like an unlikely partnership today, is most likely the path forward for Israel. The world’s only ethno-state will have to support the concept of ethno-nationalism for everyone.

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What Comes Next

One of the great challenges of dissident politics is creating and articulating a vision for what comes next. A large number of people have become aware of the central issues around identity politics, so what do they do to start changing society? Is the next step public activism? Is it creating a political party? Is it taking over an existing party or backing certain candidates? People have been conditioned to think politics is about changing public opinion in order to change the laws and culture in some way.

This is the liberal model everyone reading this has been raised to accept. Our history has been rewritten to support this idea. Our modern politics is full of symbols and rituals designed to reinforce this belief. Even the economic sphere is drenched in the principles of free market idealism. Don’t like that massive tech oligopolies are stripping you of you legal right? Just go create a competitor! The liberal democratic system teaches the people that they live in a massive market place of ideas, so change is about market share.

That’s probably the hardest thing for newly minted rebels to accept about right-wing identity politics. They have been conditioned to believe they must act on their beliefs in order to get others to do the same. In reality, there is no way forward within liberal democracy to attain the goals of national populists or identitarians. The reason is the system is fully evolved to perpetuate itself. Any effort by outside elements to engage the system result in the outside influences being fully incorporated into the system.

This is something that is easily observed in Europe, where it is still possible to create new political parties and participate in electoral politics from outside the very narrow mainstream. This wonderful translation, by Christoph Nahr, of a German identitarian essay on the subject is worth a read. This is a problem that exists in America in the form of Trumpism. How do dissidents engage in politics in order to further our goals, without being absorbed into the political habitus or destroyed by it?

This is something Sam Francis observed about the conservative movement when it was reaching its peak. In order for Buckley conservatives to become an effective political force, they had to embrace the rules and customs of liberal democratic politics, as defined by the Left. The Left controlled the moral framework, so in order to participate in politics meant embracing the Progressive moral framework. In the view of Francis, it was only a matter of time before they were absorbed by it.

That is what happened with Buckley conservatism. It could remain a challenge to the Progressive order only as long as exogenous factors created tension between themselves and the Left. The threat of nuclear annihilation artificially created a debate between the two sides of the increasing narrow political space. Once that exogenous force was removed, the moral gravity drew both sides into the center like a collapsing star. The result is the political mono-space of neoliberalism.

One way of approaching this problem is to accept the framework of liberal democracy, but focus on the people in charge. Like a church in need of reform, the Progressive clerisy can be replaced and thus reinvigorate the institution. If only the people in charge of the institutions accepted dissident ideas, then the system could be turned in the direction of dissident politics. This is essentially what Christian conservatives embraced in the 1980’s resulting in the Bush victory in 2000. It was a total failure for them.

It is this truth of liberal democracy and right-wing political philosophy that is the hardest for even the most sober minded to accept. The two are utterly incompatible. For generations, the Right has blinded itself to this reality, by fashioning itself as the defender of tradition and the restorer of community. They have seen themselves as the cleanup crew that comes in after the Progressive riot to put things back in order. For generations, the Right has been the janitorial staff of the Progressive state.

Since the core of liberal democracy is the abnegation of community, in favor of the public will, free association is impossible. The person is identified and defined by his role in the democracy. On the other hand, all forms of conservatism begin with the organic social habitus of shared history and identity. Therefore there can be no conservatism without free association. It’s not the artificial freedom of individualism, as preached by liberal democracy, but the freedom of organic communities to reach their own destiny.

That is the reality of dissident politics. It is not about “politics” in the conventional sense of the word. It is about a set of understandings with the goal of constructing organic communities that operate outside of the liberal democratic system. That means breaking the conditioning of white people, who have been raised to reject this approach, so they can focus their energy on building a counter-culture that challenges the prevailing orthodoxy on moral grounds, not factual grounds.

This is an enormous challenge, as the aesthetic for the Right, especially the bourgeois class, is as a restorer and defender. It is a backward looking mindset that not only sees solutions in the past, but sees the past as the solution. Building a counter-culture at odds with the remaining orthodoxy is the sort of stuff they associate with degenerates and communists. Yet, that is what must come next as liberal democracy winds its way to its inevitable denouement. Dissident politics is about what comes after this.

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Of Two Minds

Probably the only thing that everyone agrees upon in modern America is that the ideological divide has grown wider over the last few decades. This divide becomes even starker when one redefines the Right to be the center of dissident opinion, rather than conventional conservatism. While the Buckley crowd runs faster after the radicals as they plunge into the darkness, the dissidents are pretty much where the Buckley Right was at the start of the cultural revolution in the 1960’s.

In fairness, the dissident right has moved further into the biological realism camp in the last ten years or so. If we define Left and Right as one pole being the blank slate and the other being biological reality, the Right has now moved further toward the later pole, as the Left has raced toward the other. This is explains why the great compromisers, the Buckley Conservatives, have been pulled apart over the last two decades. It is no longer possible to ignore these poles and no longer possible to bridge them.

One thing that everyone outside the radical Left seems to accept is the Left has become far more emotional and emotionally unstable over the last few decades. The Left, of course, would dispute this, if they bothered to address it, but even the most cowardly of Buckley Conservatives agrees with this assessment. The Left is now defined by its emotional outbursts and demands to shut down anyone that dares question the tenets of their faith. The waves of censorship are a direct result of these demands.

A good example of this institutional hysteria is the recent book by Hindu nationalist Angela Saini, which purports to show that biology is a social construct. This is a woman, who for very personal reasons, has to claim that race and ethnicity are figments of our imagination, but writes books celebrating her people. Saini is a great example of the internally conflicted and perpetually panicked Left. Her latest book is an effort to use cherry picked science to anathematize the human sciences, in defense of ideology.

The fevered tone, however, is self-defeating, as it further isolates the blank slate crowd as a ghetto culture of radicals. When an algorithm can create your face just from your voice, the notion that we are not what of biology dictates is preposterous. When ancestry companies are relying upon cheek swabs to tell people their race, ethnicity and the origin of their people, Angela Saini sounds like a mad woman. This is what the Left appears to be today. A collection of emotionally overwrought primitives.

The question is why the Left appears to be going mad. David Aurini has a go at it looking at the Big Five Personality Traits. The radical Left is high in Agreeableness and Neuroticism, while being very low in Conscientiousness. As a result, they panic when they perceive any threat and demand everyone get along – or else. They are also more intensely on-line (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube), which tends to amplify their sense of being surrounded by threats, thus elevating their level of panic.

Of course, another way to looking at this great divide is along sexual lines. The Left is clearly more feminine today than at any time. The people on the Left assailing biological reality are people like Angela Saini, Amy Harmon and Cordelia Fine. They write books claiming biology is a social construct. While there are some thirsty betas on the Left nodding along with these sorts of women, the point of the spear in the war against the human sciences is mainly populated with the daughters of Mars.

Another aspect to this is the browning of the Left in America. The Left is not only being feminized, it is being tribalized by people like Angela Saini. She can never be occidental and is therefore condemned to live outside the Western tradition. Because she can never be fully part of the West, but is detached from her people’s past, she has to work toward creating a new reality that can include the immigrant reality. While in the past, Left and Right existed within Western identity, the Left is slowly detaching from it.

This is probably the key reason the Left now feels so alien to even the milquetoast members of the Buckley Right. People like David French desperately try to keep pace with the Left as it rockets away from the core of Western identity, but he remains tethered to Western tradition. There’s simply no way to fit the shared reality of strangers, who immigrated to the West, into the shared reality of the natives. Their realities are too different and largely at odds. The Left is now defined by its degree of separation.

Just as important, this new identity evolving on the Left is a negative one. It is defined by its hostility to the core Western man. The attempts by those in the remnant of the Buckley Right to find common ground with the new Left is seen as an assault. Any effort to incorporate the identity of the new comers into the Western tradition is viewed as cultural appropriation, another way of saying an assault on their identity. As a result, it appears the West is at war with itself as the distance between the poles widen.

To some degree, the West has been at war with itself for a long time. One side has always thought the importation of strangers was suicide. The other side came to believe it was vital. There’s no bridging the gap between these two opinions. It turns out that the former was always correct. The new political divide, therefore, will be between those alien infiltrators, and their native collaborators, hostile to the heritage identity, and the natives, who remain in the core Western tradition and identity.

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Apes Flying Planes

Imagine that archaeologists, digging around in the jungles somewhere, stumbled upon what they think are the remains of ancient buildings. Upon closer examination they learn that it is very old, but has technology that is advanced, more advanced than the most advanced technology of today. This is the sort of premise that makes for a good science fiction story or even a mediocre sci-fi series. The next step in the plot is a drama between the characters over what to do with the newly discovered alien technology.

In real life, there would be an endless rounds of committee meetings and memorandum as the bureaucracy tried hard to not do anything with the new technology. The original discoverers would die of old age long before a decision was made. Even without the byzantine processes, nothing would be done, as no one would know what to do with the alien technology. Anything that far advanced would be the product of a race with an entirely different evolutionary arc. No one would know why they created the technology.

That’s the part that gets left out of the science fiction version of the story. Technological advance often seems like leaps and bounds, but in the long run it is glacial. For example, plow design remained fairly crude into the 19th century, then all of sudden it advanced rapidly to what we know as the modern design. That great leap in technology was the result of the glacial advance in material science, economics and social organization that started in the Middle Ages. The plow was the result of that.

That alien discovered in the jungle would have been the result of a similarly long evolution of an unknown race of beings. Without that long arc, their technology would be like the final pages of a mystery novel, without the rest of the book or even the knowledge surrounding the book. At best, we would be able to guess at parts of the arc, but we would have no idea why the thing was created, so we would have no idea what to do with it. An example of this is the Antikythera mechanism.

Now, this is not advanced alien technology, but it is alien technology. The ancient Greeks are alien to us, not quite as alien as people from space, but we really can’t know that for sure. The Antikythera mechanism was discovered in the spring of 1901 and it took 70 years to begin to understand it. In 2008, researchers announced that it was an instrument for predicting astronomical positions, eclipses and for maintaining a calendar. They still don’t know all of it.

Now, if it took a century to puzzle through a piece of alien technology from 2500 years in our past, from a people about whom we know a lot, how long would it take to unravel advanced technology from a mysterious alien people? It is a pretty safe bet that the CIA has learned nothing from that crashed alien spaceship they keep at Area 51 in Nevada. Unless the aliens sent scientists trained in working with retarded people, we would have no way of figuring out where to start with the technology.

Now, what does this have to do with anything? Technological advance is a feedback loop within a society. It’s why technological advances can move from one people to a similar people, but they take a long time to work into alien cultures. Europe went through a rapid technological advance starting around 1500, racing ahead of the rest of the world. Much of what the West created did not make it into Asia and Africa until the 20th century. Advances in social organization remain alien to much of the world.

Now, imagine what happens when a people become too stupid to maintain the technology created by their ancestors. This is something that would be predicted by social cycle theory. As the ruling elites, the smart fraction, sees its fertility rate decline, the overall IQ of the people declines. There could reach a point where the society no longer has the social capital to maintain the social and material complexity created by their ancestors. At some point, their world becomes chimps flying airplanes.

Think of it this way. Imagine if tomorrow, everyone with a working knowledge of turbines died from some awful disease. We would still have smart people capable of learning about turbines, but they would have to learn it. They would also have to acquire the experience of working with turbines. It would take years before we had enough people able to work on and maintain existing turbines. By that point, the work needed to repair existing turbines would be massive. It may never get done at all.

Now, the evidence is strong that Europeans are getting dumber, and that is putting aside the issues related to immigration. In fact, the decline into stupidity may be accelerating. When you add in immigration by people with significantly lower intelligence than existing European people, the effect is an acceleration toward a much lower average IQ for Western nations. Again, this is predicted by social cycle theory to a degree, but also backed up by research into the subject by people like Ed Dutton.

The social instability of the West, things like the inability to control borders and the revival of primitive beliefs, promoted by female shamans, could very well be due to the decline of general intelligence. The people populating the machinery for running a modern Western society no longer possess the intelligence to properly operate the machinery. They are like those researchers who discovered alien technology, except our rulers, bureaucrats, and intellectuals are convinced they know how all of it works.

There is another angle to this. Take the financial system, which is probably the most automated system today. It has reached a level of complexity where no one person knows how all of it works. This is not just the narrow technological stuff. Transactions have reached a level of complexity where specialists focus on just one part. About 70 percent of overall trading volume is now generated through algorithmic trading. The markets are literally run by robots that no one fully understands.

As a result of this realty, like the science fiction movies, the world markets now have what amount to dead man switches. If the robots get out of control, the breakers put a halt to trading in order to give humans a chance to figure out what’s happening. This is a preview of what lies ahead for Western society as a best case scenario. The apparatus of the state will be kitted out with circuit breakers and dead man switches, not to control the algos, but the stupid people operating the machinery. It is apes flying planes.

A more likely scenario is something beyond anarcho-tyranny. Instead of the authoritarian institutions harassing citizens over petty matters and ignoring the serious issues they were designed to address, the machinery of society will slowly grind to a halt, as happened in post-colonial Africa. The organizational systems, not just the physical machinery, will become too complex for the people to master. As a result, we will enter a period of technological and social regression toward the new mean IQ.

Put another way, the society created by our ancestors of just a few generations ago is beyond the event horizon of our modern ruling and intellectual elites. The physical manifestations are all around us, but the cultural aptitude to create and maintain such a world is now beyond the reach of our elites. While they remain smarter and more sophisticated than the main body of citizens, they are relatively primitive compared to their ancestors and as a result we are ruled by people puzzled by their own inheritance.

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Negrophilia

In Paris, during the interwar years, the avant-garde and artists developed a passion for what they saw as black culture. Part of it was due to the trade in exotic items from French colonies in Africa and part of it was due to exposure to black troops from America and Africa during the war. The word negrophilia is derived from the French négrophilie that means love of the negro. The modern and fashionable of the day would collect African art, listen to Jazz and hang out at clubs where the Charleston was popular.

A century later, a similar sort of frenzy has gripped people who fashion themselves as sophisticated and fashionable. Instead of Jazz, they listen to hip-hop and worship black sports figures. Instead of collecting African art, they collect African orphans. More important, instead of admiring the cultural products of blacks, they have developed an unconscious worship of blacks. They have elevated them to minor gods, who must be protected at all cost. The protection of these gods is a sign of righteousness.

This new form of negrophilia is entirely a conservative thing. That’s conservative as in right-wing Progressive, not historic conservatives. These are the people who see Candace Owens as something of a shaman. So much so allegedly sober minded people are willing to embrace nutty academic fads in order to prove their love for her. It’s not her specifically, but black exceptionalism in general. Any black who embraces the habits of white bourgeois society becomes something sacred to be defended at all costs.

You see that with the so-called principled conservative crowd, who are suddenly up in arms about the media harassing someone for their political opinions. Those principled conservatives took to their quill pens to denounce the Daily Beast for posting personal information about a black Facebook user, who mocked Nancy Pelosi. He either created or doctored a video of Pelosi, which showed her slurring her words. The Left was very upset by it, as it mocked their octogenarian leader.

Up until this point, the principled conservatives were silent on the campaign of harassment by the Daily Beast against other people holding taboo opinions. The reason is those victims were white and their opinions are pro-white. Conservatives were not just silent about the social media purges of pro-white users, they celebrated it. They wrote snickering posts about how private companies had the absolute right to censor speech and the victims were free to create their own platforms.

The obsequious David French tries to find some principles that makes it OK for the media to harass white people, but not black people. All he is able to do is insert himself into the story as an alleged victim of mean people on-line. His effort to defend the sacred black man is just autoethnicgraphic groveling. For those unaware, when the term “cuckservative:” was popularized, French was one of the first guys to see it turn up in his twitter feed. He has never recovered from it.

One thing to note is that none of these principled conservatives can be bothered to defend a principle here. Theirs is an emotional response. They see a sacred black in distress and they naturally rush to his aid. It’s what drove them to slobber over Diamond and Silk, the black YouTube performers. It’s what made Sheriff Clark a star. Sure, it is a way for them to shout “DR3” as they hiss at the Left, but the driver is not just the desire to zing the Left. These people worship an idealized black.

This fever has gripped them to the point where they are unable to defend their own ideas, what few of them exist, without finding a back to confirm them. Conservative Inc. has been vexed by the rise of white identity politics, but could never muster much of an argument against it. The reason is it would require attacking left-wing identity politics and they can’t risk that, so they now have a black to do the job for them. Blacks are always used as a cat’s paw by principled conservatives.

Of course, the cause of this is a phenomenon that started on the Left in the 1980’s, when liberals moved past the street theater of radicalism. Instead of going to the ghetto to link arms with people like Jess Jackson, the new radicals wanted to invite blacks into their world. Not just any blacks, of course. They preferred the talented ten percent, who would be happy to confirm the sensibilities of bourgeois radicalism, by aping the opinions and mannerisms of the bourgeois bohemians. Barak Obama says hello.

Forgotten to the mists of time were Obama prototypes like former Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke. Back in the 1980’s, he was the first of a new breed of black politician. He was Ivy League educated and more comfortable in the boardroom than the ghetto. As the saying went at the time, he was black, but not, you know, black. His role was not to be the voice of black America in the ruling class, but instead to be the symbol of ruling class virtue. White politicians loved having their picture taken with him.

Because today’s principled conservatism is just yesterday’s Progressive fads, the modern conservative now embraces the negrophilia of the 1980’s. Just as the liberals of yesterday were interested only in an idealized black, today’s conservatives only care about blacks who play a similar role. They ignore the blacks who the Left employs to attack white culture, as they fear being called a racist. Instead they worship people like Candace Owens and Diamond and Silk, who are willing to confirm their virtue.

That’s not to say that Sheriff Clarke or Candace Owens are dishonest in their presentations or running a con on white people. They seem sincere in their beliefs. According to all accounts, they are genuinely nice people. The thing is, what they say is not remarkable. The reason they are stars is they are black people saying the same things Sean Hannity says every night. These principled conservatives love these people because they assure them they are not going to be called a racist.

The one big difference between the Left’s negrophilia and that of these principled conservatives is self-awareness. For the Left, these good blacks were just useful pawns in the culture war. They were a means to an end. For principled conservatives, these sorts of fads are an end in themselves. That’s because principled conservatism is a defensive crouch, not a set of ideas aimed at a goal. Despite all of their howling about their principles, principled conservatism is just a pose.

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The Unraveling Right

The defining feature of American Conservatism since the rise of Buckley and National Review is that it managed to conserve nothing. In fact, the movement was largely born out of the Civil Rights Movement, in which the New Right, as they were called then, conceded the right of free association to the Left. From that point forward, conservatism in America was mostly just a modification of Progressivism, often following it around like a shadow from one new radical idea to the next.

The truth is, whatever Buckley imagined for his movement in the beginning, it was soon turned into a partner of Progressivism. In exchange for a free hand in dealing with the Soviets, the Right would allow the Left to dominate domestic policy. It may not have been explicit decision, or even a conscious one, but that was the result. The Reagan years are a great example. The revolution cultivated the seedlings of global finance and presided over a massive military buildup. Domestically, it did nothing.

In fairness, the Buckley project did bring about the end of the Cold War, which few people imagined was possible in the 1960’s. Into the Reagan years, most people in the West thought the Bolsheviks were on the right side of history. The trouble was, this habit of acquiescing to the Left on domestic matters had become a part of the Right’s fabric. When it was time to turn back to domestic policy, they could not do it. Instead they allowed themselves to be tricked into a new foreign adventure by the neocons.

That is a useful way to think of the last thirty years. Buckley and his minions did such a great job of defining conservatism as the sidecar of Progressivism, it was incapable of adapting to the post-war reality. Instead, it put all of its energy into finding a new foreign policy cause to fill the void of fighting communism. Meanwhile, the Left was fully prepared to spend the peace dividend on outlandish social experimentation like open borders and homosexual marriage. The Right just stood by and watched.

The fact that Conservative Inc., the material and monetary manifestation of Buckley’s project, still staggers on, despite losing most of its relevance and audience, is a testament to institutional power. People get used to worshiping at the same place, so even when the place no longer deserves their worship, they return out of habit. For the same reason the Episcopal Church still exists, National Review still functions as a flagship for a movement that is long past its expiration date.

A sign that this hollow institution sits atop an equally hollow movement is this recent exchange between someone calling himself Sohrab Ahmari and David French, of National Review. Ahmari makes a case familiar to most on the dissident right, that conservatism has conserved nothing. More important, its very design is to ensure that it can never win a fight with the Left in the culture war. It is the designated opponent that puts on a good show, but in the end concedes the game to the Left.

The response from David French is an amusing confirmation of the most biting criticism of Conservative Inc., in that it combines a total lack of self-awareness and a dog’s breakfast of empty slogans. The fact that the French essay is heavily decorated with advertisements and pleas for money just adds to the humor. His argument is that making a bunch of ritualized noises about the past, while being rolled in the Culture War, is the definition of conservatism. Everyone agrees with this.

What Ahmari builds his case on is the observation that people like French invest heavily in maintaining a set of rules on the Right that prevents victory. That is, a primary activity is endlessly reminding people that to be conservative is to live by a set of principles. These principles control how the Right engages the Left. On the other hand, the Left is happy to help the Right enforce these rules, as the Left never plays by any rules. It plays to win, so these principles become a road map for winning every battle.

This is a certain type of sandwich, where normal white people are faced with an impossible dilemma. They can lose their moral purpose by breaking their own rules, while beating the Left, or, they can hold onto their principles and lose. That’s the role of people like David French. He’s like the Army chaplain, who convinces the troops to embrace pacifism. Alternatively, he is the Tokyo Rose whispering subversion into the ears of white people, undermining their will to fight.

The response by the rest of Conservative Inc. to the Ahmari post is revealing, in that it is not much of a defense of French or Conservative Inc. Reason Magazine babbles about individual liberty while calling Ahmari names. The fact that the core of the Ahmari post is that the individualism fetish is why the Right keeps losing is lost on the writer. Winning the culture war requires collective action with a collective purpose. There can be no individual liberty without first defeating the Left and retaking the public space.

Probably the most illuminating defense of French comes from Michael Brendan Dougherty in National Review. His post reads like it was coerced. There is a long meandering summary of the recent history of conservatism. The actual defense of French boils down to “he is worthless and his approach is laughably stupid, but hey, he’s a nice guy and is popular with my boss.” Conservatism is mostly just logrolling now, so this “defense” is a good example of why National Review is nearing an end.

The lesson to be drawn from the failure of conservatives, for those who will take up the culture war, is that principles are about what you won’t do. They are prohibitions on your behavior. When you engage the enemy with a long list of things you will not do in the fight, you have provided him with a road map to victory. That’s been conservatism for the last thirty years. Whether conscious or unconscious, their cherished principles have amounted to nothing more than a primer for how they will throw the fight.

The fact is, principles are worthless unless you can enforce them. The whole point of having principles is to legitimize the maintenance of order after the victory. Logically, the first step in a principled agenda is to win. That requires collective action and a willingness to play rough, not individualism and a fetish for tone policing. An army of individualists is a hunting ground for the well-organized. In order to get anything like a conservative order means white people acting collectively and doing what is necessary to win.

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Cynicism, Then Revolt

A popular line from libertarianism is that the state is violence. Another way of stating this is the state has a monopoly on violence. The implication is that the state imposes order, the order of those who control the state, with the threat of violence or through actual violence, in the case of law enforcement. It is a Hobbesian view of society, in which order is imposed, but an inaccurate one. Society, even authoritarian ones, rely on consent and a shared set of rituals and symbols to perpetuate consent.

Even the most authoritarian of societies, the prison, where the members have no control over their bodies, relies on consent and ritual to maintain order. The regularization of prison life, along with predictable symbols of authority, keep the prisoners from revolting against the guards. Without cooperation from the inmates, a prison would be ungovernable. The cost of housing and feeding humans in perpetual revolt against their captors would be prohibitive. A prison requires consent.

In a western liberal democracy, order tilts in the other direction, where the state relies more on ritual and symbol to encourage the consent of the governed. Elections are a big part of the ritual, where the people are made to believe their concerns are considered by the office holders. Every western nation has symbols and rituals to remind the voters that they live in a democracy. In America, patriotism is used to manipulate the people into supporting the system, despite their misgivings and distrust.

Order in America relies on the balance between the state’s monopoly of violence, the consent of the people and the maintenance of symbols and rituals that are the physical manifestation of the American creed. As long as the people trust and respect those symbols and rituals, they will support the current order. More precisely, as long as they believe those rituals, like elections and civic participation, support the American creed, they will respect the institutions of the state that maintain order.

Most likely, the process by which a liberal democracy moves from order to disorder, is like walking through a submarine. The people start in the compartment of high trust, but events lead them to leave that compartment and move to the next compartment called doubt or distrust. Once there, the door closes behind them. This is where the people begin losing faith in the office holders. The next compartment from there is cynicism, where the people have lost all trust in the system and the ruling class.

In this phase of social evolution in a liberal democracy, there is some remnant of consent and some tug of patriotism. The emotional connection between the citizens and the state is vestigial. It is a memory and a sadness at the onset of political cynicism, but then slowly builds to an anger at what has been lost. This is what Darren Beattie fears is right around the corner for America, if Trump’s agenda fails due the deliberate thwarting of the public will, by the people controlling the state.

It is safe to assume that the marginalized supporters who came out to vote for Trump will be forever divorced from the shared consent of the people. They will stop voting and stop thinking their future lies with democratic solutions. Just how many of Trump’s voters will fall into this state is hard to calculate. On the other hand, the coalition of the ascendant will be energized by this, so the general level of cynicism will be offset to some degree by enthusiasm from the coalition of the ascendant.

The truth never mentioned in the Beattie column, because it is forbidden, is populism is just code for white. What Trump represents is the white population, who think it is still possible to hold onto heritage America. If we just get immigration under control and fix some of the trade deals, things will slowly get back to normal. Oddly, this is the one thing the Left gets right about Trump. He does want to make America white again, if not demographically, certainly culturally and institutionally.

There is no question that many whites in America have moved from the compartment of distrust to the compartment of cynicism. Beattie is wrong to assume this process is not already underway. It started a long time ago as a trickle on the Right and now the pace is accelerating. This is evident in the growth and persistence of the dissident right, which has thrived despite the authoritarian tactics of the ruling class. Despite having more political prisoners than ever, we have more dissidents than ever too.

Still, Beattie is not wrong to assert that the failure of popular causes, like immigration controls, will push many more people into the cynicism compartment. The result will be an America where consent begins to fade and is replaced by coercion. White people will continue to follow the rules, not because they respect those rules, but because they fear reprisals from the state. The authority of the ruling class will no longer be based in their legitimacy to rule, but their control of the monopoly of violence.

In the trenches, soldiers will fight and die for their comrades, despite the rotten conditions their leaders create for them. In human society, the people will tolerate great deprivations in support of their neighbors. That social capital, upon which authority relies, will help maintain order, even when the rulers have failed in their duties. In a land where everyone’s neighbor is a stranger, there can be no foundation of social capital upon which to rest authority. The people must trust and respect their rulers.

That’s the next compartment after cynicism. When Trump’s agenda fails, as it sure will, white cynicism toward the system will grow. It will reach a point where the ruling class can only maintain order through coercion. They will live in fear of crisis, as the people will have no reason to sacrifice and no trust in the system to see them through the difficult times. The relationship between ruler and ruled will be like an old married couple hanging on until the kids are grown. The divorce is inevitable.

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Activity Versus Prosperity

An occasional topic on the dissident right is how the popular measures of the economy have no relevance to the daily lives of people. Andrew Yang has picked up on this and talks about the need for new measures. For example, the Gross Domestic Product has its uses, but it says very little about the life of the typical person. What most of these popular measures tell us is how much activity there is in the economy, but they tell us very little about the prosperity of the people, which is really what matters.

This story from the Daily Mail is a good starting point for thinking about the difference between activity and prosperity in the economy. The men hired to build these mansions certainly got employment from the task. They were paid wages to do stuff, at least until the project was finished. The building of these mansions certainly added to the GDP and improved the unemployment rate. Yet, no one would look at the result and say Britain is more prosperous as a result. In fact, the opposite seems true.

This is because prosperity is not a purely material measure. When Notre Dame Cathedral burned down, the wealth of the typical Frenchman was diminished, because a part of his cultural heritage was lost. Economic activity will increase when they decide to rebuild it, but the result will not make France more prosperous. In fact, the result will only add to the cultural loss, as the people in charge will make a mockery of the original structure. Notre Dame will be another Parisian eyesore.

In fairness to economist, we can measure economic activity, but we can only sense economic prosperity. The former is like measuring wind gusts in a storm. The latter is to assess the damage done by the storm. The mistake is in assuming the former is objective while the latter is subjective. While true, to some degree, the choice of measures is always subjective. There is a reason we hear about the unemployment rate every month, but no one ever discusses the workforce participation rate.

The zeal of modern economists for measuring activity is about avoiding the topic of culture and the prosperity of the people. For example, our rulers don’t want the people debating whether it is better to pay more for goods and services provided by a local seller, versus from a global operator. This is the sort of discussion that leads to debates about who benefits and why. The people in charge want as many people in the wheel, running as fast as they can, not thinking about who? whom?

Ultimately, while activity has its value, the fundamental focus of a people is on their collective prosperity. Not the prosperity of a few, but of the whole. Venezuela is in flux, in part, because it’s overall increase in prosperity, the last two decades, has not increased the general prosperity of the people. Granted, outside forces are playing a major role, but subversion is possible because the people don’t feel they are benefiting from the system. No one has ever revolted against prosperity.

In America, social unrest is increasing, despite the increase in economic activity, because the white population senses a loss in their prosperity. Would the typical white person pay a little more for groceries if the stores were staffed with white people and the emergency room did not look like a Tijuana bus stop? From the perspective of economics, we would be poorer, but the quality of life would be much higher. It turns out that the true cost of cheap labor is the prosperity of the people.

This was always the error made by socialist of various types. Communists took it the furthest, assuming that humans were nothing more than economic units. The body count eventually disabused the Soviets of this, but the damage had been done. It will take generations to undo the damage of Bolshevism. Similarly, the Chinese have gone down the same road, thinking activity is prosperity. Their plummeting birth rate ensures that China will get old long before she gets truly prosperous.

One very important aspect of the great culture war in the West right now is a debate about activity versus prosperity. Do you want to be a guy in the ethnostate with less stuff or the guy with the latest of everything in a deracinated cosmopolitan area? Would you rather have a little less activity in order to have more of what defines you? The social capital that is a natural product of homogeneous societies has a value. We gave it up for cheap product. The question now is how much will it cost to get it back?

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Citationism

One of the irritating things about reading anything that strives to be academic is the thicket of citations throughout the text. It’s not just the end notes and footnotes, but the constant references to the work of others. Often, the text reads like a summary of the work in the field, rather than something original. Just as often, the text has the feel of a paper turned in by a teenager, trying to prove they did their homework. It is not just bad writing, it is a waste of time. It is disrespectful of the reader.

It’s not just a stylistic thing, but a reflection of something that has happened in the intellectual classes of American society. It used to be that an intellectual mastered a subject in order to build on it. The point of his labor was not to prove he had read everyone in the field. The point was to find the gaps in his field and use the source material as a foundation for filling some of those gaps. In other words, the academic added to his field, rather than maintained it like a curator of a museum.

This shift from speculation to memorization reflects the shift in the culture, not just the education system. As a managerial system came to dominate the upper reaches of society, the education system became an exam system. You pass through the system in order to accumulate credentials that open doors within the managerial elite. The system began to select against people who question the current order. Instead, the system selects for those most likely to support and defend the system.

Of course, as the mass media moved from being a vocation to a profession, it began to adopt the habits seen in other areas of the managerial class. Commentary on current events is less about explaining what happened and more about the writer showing they memorized all the things that will be on the test. The opinion sections of news sites are echo chambers, where each writer salts their text with the latest fads, as if they are writing an essay for their high school social studies class.

The banality is not confined to Progressives. The so-called intellectual dark web is just as dull and cautious, but decorated with some risqué phrases picked up from dissident politics. Here’s a story from Claire Lehmann about the Australian election. She is sort-of from Australia, but the post reads like it was written by someone, who knows everything about the place from a text book. There are no insights or speculations, just a long proof that the writer has read all of the approved source material and passed the test.

She seems particularly proud of herself for using the term “champagne socialist” as if that is a catchy insight. It’s just a different ways of saying “limousine liberal” which was popular with conservatives in the 1980’s. Again, we see that strange echo. The New Left in the West is a weird museum exhibit on the 1970’s, while the New Right is nostalgia for the 1980’s. We have a generation of public intellectuals, who memorized the political fights of their parent’s generation, but have no idea what they meant.

The fetish for the citation also has crept into elite commentary.  In books about current events, writers fill the pages with references to other people’s ideas. Even in op-ed style pieces, there’s every effort made to name-drop and preen about having read some famous person in the field. Instead of trying to enlighten the reader, or even just inform, the modern writer is like the kid in the front of class, furiously waving her hand saying, “I know! I know!” Everyone is trying to show they did the required assignment.

When people stop looking for gaps in their own knowledge or in the prevailing orthodoxy, they no longer have much to say. The lack of curiosity used to be the end of an academic career. It was when the old guy was put out to pasture, gaining the “emeritus” label. Today, a promiscuous lack of curiosity is a requirement for anyone entering the media, the academy or the official public space. As a result, we have a class of academics and public intellectuals, who are a circus of banality.

Worse yet, and this gets back to the citation fetish, there is no effort to make existing ideas accessible. The other role of the intellectual is to explain complex things in a way that regular people can grasp. That’s both a public service and proof you have mastered the material. In an effort to prove to teacher that they have done their homework, modern writing is so junked up with citations, references and insider jargon, it is unreadable to anyone outside the field. Much of it is just unreadable.

Perhaps this is just another manifestation of the end phase of a society. Like an old man, who no longer has the energy or courage to question authority, a society gets old and loses its will to question. Instead of sitting around looking at scrap books and telling war stories, the intellectual class reboots old ideas from prior generations and repeats the same things over and over. It’s not that these people were trained wrong. It’s that they are the result of a culture with nothing left to say, so they just repeat their greatest hits.

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